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RIM shows newer PlayBook UI, talks iPad and 4G

updated 03:15 pm EST, Mon December 6, 2010

RIM talks PlayBook UI and Apple at Rogers event

RIM's David Neale at the same event that detailed Rogers' PlayBook plans also showed a demo of the device itself (video below) and took several shots at Apple in the process. Running a daily build of the BlackBerry Tablet OS, the slate was shown using swipe gestures to manage its multitasking interface much like the card system in HP's webOS. It was running quickly and could handle a 1080p video, the web browser and the photo viewer smoothly, even while running on just one of the two cores.

Neale also addressed a handful of technical questions, confirming that the PlayBook would support 4G at some point. He didn't mention which network types were coming, but Verizon already named RIM as one of the LTE supporters in early 2011. Rogers and other major Canadian providers will also be using LTE.

The carrier hosting the event also gave RIM an opportunity to answer to Apple's criticisms of small tablets and wider attacks on the quality of App World. He disagreed that it was "some small screen in between" and sidestepped questions of the suitability of the interface. The PlayBook was lighter, according to Neale, and also had the advantage of exactly matching the A5 page layout used in Europe. Variety was also a justification in itself.

"There is room in the world for different shapes," he said.

RIM would further count on sheer features to make the difference. With a dual-core 1GHz processor, HDMI output and micro USB, it was about real mobile computing and not just "making a cellphone get big," Neal claimed, taking an implied shot at the iPad's features being similar to those in the iPhone 4 that followed. Some of the claimed advantages of the PlayBook are expected to go away by the time it ships in or near March, since Apple and other competitors should be launching similar-performing models at the time with dual cameras and other additions.

Neale more directly addressed complaints about the low selection and high prices of apps at BlackBerry App World, which just recently reached 15,000 apps where its rivals often have near 10 or 20 times many titles. RIM had originally tailored App World for business, and so many of the apps there are still focused on workers. The company was in a "transition" as it moved towards apps friendly to a wider audience and would change, he said. While he didn't confirm specific titles were coming, he acknowledged the popularity of games like Angry Birds as evidence of the direction the PlayBook would take.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    As The Saying Goes ...

    ... Never confuse Research In Motion with research in action.

    "There is room in the world for different shapes," he said.
    Good. Make a circular one then. Or better yet: triangular.

    He disagreed that it was "some small screen in between" and sidestepped questions of the suitability of the interface.
    Because, as we all know, only the hardware specs matter. Speaking of which ...

    With a dual-core 1GHz processor, HDMI output and micro USB, it was about real mobile computing and not just "making a cellphone get big," Neal claimed, taking an implied shot at the iPad's features being similar to those in the iPhone 4 that followed.
    Using that logic, we now know why Blackberry sales stink - they've been trying to make tablets that are too small.

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1080p is the new MHz. myth

    OK, so this tablet plays 1080p video on a screen that does not have enough native resolution for 720p video. HDTV has given us more useless bullet points and check boxes that cloud the actual issues, like how well this device performs. Does this corporate-centered device print like the iPad does (or will) with AirPrint? Can it stream content to real HDTV's like AirPlay? Without these new to iOS 4.2 technologies or work-alikes, the fake abilities don't mean much. Does it even run existing RIM apps?

    All I see is another web-enabled me too, that is trying to fraudulently out-spec the iPad. Without a compelling first of its own, this thing will not gain traction.

    -- Len

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm not trying to take Apple's side or anything...

    but it's hard to argue about iPad sales and its affect on the consumer population and computing industry in general. The iPad can hardly be considered a flop. It is certainly a pretty decent 1.0 product where nearly no other product existed. I honestly think that RIM doesn't see the driving force behind the sales of all IOS devices. iTMS integration, the App Store and the extra boost of Apple retail outlets.

    Even the PlayBook could be considered as making a cellphone get big since there are smartphones that have the same features as the PlayBook except for the dual processor. I'm sure the PlayBook will have decent sales if it lives up to the demos, but it will have to go up against the iPad 2.0 and that is an unknown quantity at this point. No consumer has yet had a PlayBook in their hands, so it's a bit early for RIM to start trashing the iPad.

  1. facebook_George

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010


    comment title

    Hurry, RIM, hurry. Copy Apple's groundbreaking iOS as fast as you can. And you'll still be five years behind in technology.

  1. Intosh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Copying Argument


    You mean like how Apple copied others by using the grid icons scheme, folders, wallpaper, task switching, etc?

  1. Parky

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Poor demonstration!!!

    So unlike the iPad and iPhone which Apple can output directly to a projector, RIM have an overhead projector!!!! How 1990's!

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More like

    Showing an updated copy of Apples iPad on their knock off device. Thats more like it.

  1. EmmEff

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    I want to see RIM succeed. I really really do, but this is far too little, far too late. How is the hardware performance going to make up for a complete lack of apps? No corresponding music/video/movie/TV show/book store?

    There is more to 'owning' a place in the market than superior hardware.

  1. jbelkin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RIM is Doomed

    The fact is that RIm had a decade to come up with a web browser and an OS on their system and COULD NOT. The one thing about the iOS ecosystem is eVERYTHING operates the same - unlike with RIM now, if you know the Blackberry, that's 5 different OSes and if you buy the tablet, it's ANOTHER OS - that looks pretty much like the ipad down to its icons ... and from the tabs, look slike you have to adhere and place your apps in the tabs they deem? Who exactly is looking for a Blackberry that is a different email OS and has few apps and no media ... on an OS no one has EVER used before? And you know after spending a billion bucks on this, where are they gonna price it at? Same as an ipad but with a small screen? Yea, good luck to this venture.

  1. anilstore

    Joined: Dec 1969



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